To St. Louis’ law enforcement and the mayor’s office, odd developments in the good part of town must have seemed ominous. A peaceful rebellion, armed with kites and marijuana, had formed in Forest Park. Traffic was tied up for hours, and the next day the story landed in the newspaper. To those in St. Louis who hadn’t heard of KSHE, this was their introduction, along with the rest of the United States. The thousands who gathered in Forest Park on March 29, 1974 celebrated the coming of spring. A cool sunny day punctuated by brisk winds gave the fans the perfect day to fly a kite. As the fans slowly filled up the park, dozens of kites sailed gently into the breeze. Massive contraptions took to the air before the large crowd made their launch impossible. At least one brave soul teamed up with his creation to take to the skies. As thousands poured in, there was less room for the giants and their smaller paper and wood versions. To get a better view, dozens of fans climbed upon backstops of the baseball diamonds and also bent the wooden soccer goal posts like a twigs under their weight. They weren’t there to just see the kites sail in the skies. They were there to see a concert. A band named KISS just started their first U.S. tour a week before. Standing on stage, the band witnessed something historic. On that day they performed before their largest audience as a headliner in the United States, as KISS Alive author Kurt Gooch noted in 2007. Just one week on tour and KSHE was there to help. KSHE became one of the first radio stations in the U.S. to play a KISS single.
Photos © Bill Parsons & Bill Greenblatt. Text © John Neiman, In Concert: KSHE and 40+ Years of Rock in St. Louis